Date: Fri, 15 Nov 96 18:55:50 CST
From: (Peoples Weekly World)
Subject: From cold war lies to present-day falsehoods

**From cold war lies to present-day falsehoods**

From cold war lies to present-day falsehoods

By William Pomeroy, in Peoples Weekly World, 16 November, 1996

A former senior British intelligence officer who held a key post at the heart of Britain's intelligence operations during the Cold War period has just produced a book that throws some glaring light on the highly discreditable role played at that time by his and other western agencies in worsening the threat of war.

Secretary of the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee, 1972-1975 and a top-ranking official at GCHQ, the British government's Cheltenham center for intelligence monitoring of international signals (i.e., spying globally on transmission of messages by radio, telephone and other means), the author Michael Herman, has called his revealing study "Intelligence Power in Peace and War." It portrays the western intelligence agencies, among which the CIA was the dominant partner (it was closely, and still is, connected with GCHQ), as operating virtually independently and uncontrollably in manipulating Cold War policies and tensions.

Above all was the feeding of assessments and reports to NATO governments on alleged Soviet arms programs and military planning for attack, assessments and reports that were unfounded, wildly exaggerated, or projected "worst case scenarios," according to Herman, as if they were the order of the day. The alarmist estimates, made in a tone of dire warning, made it appear throughout the Cold War that the Soviet Union constituted a "massive threat" to the West that had to be countered by even more massive responses.

The deliberate and calculated activity of the intelligence agencies, in other words, stimulated vast military expenditure, especially on the continual development and up grading of nuclear weaponry. Herman claims that false intelligence reports of Soviet intentions led to the re- equipping of the British submarine-borne Polaris missiles with new warheads costing a further $2 billion in the 1970s, and then with Polaris being replaced by the Trident missile costing nearly $20 billion. The picture painted by Herman is of an arms race whipped along by lies, resulting in ever- rising expenditure of billions of dollars by both sides, ruinous for one and near-ruinous for the other.

The authoritative Jane's Defense Weekly on Oct. 15 came out with a report on the Soviet-built MiG29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft. This had been brought into service in the Soviet air force in 1983 and had been propagandized by western intelligence as an unmatched combat plane that was a lethal threat to NATO air forces.

This estimate precipitated enormously costly programs to develop a more advanced fighter. The US F22 has been one result. Western Europe NATO members undertook to develop their own response to the alleged super-plane MiG29. It is called the Euro-fighter and is so costly that four countries - Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain - are building parts for it.

Producing the Euro-fighter has been going on for the past decade and it is not expected to come into service until 2002. The constantly rising massive cost, now at around $70 billion, has caused Germany, in particular, to have second thoughts about continuing with it.

The Jane's Defense Weekly report is likely to throw a wet blanket over the project. It is by a squadron commander of the German Luftwaffe's Fighter Wing 73, Lieutenant -Colonel Johann Kock, whose squadron acquired MiG29s from the GDR air force when German east-west unification occurred, and has been flying them for the past five years. According to Kock the MiG29 was greatly overrated. While "the best of the best" in close combat, it is said to be impossible to navigate, hopeless in medium-range air-to-air combat, and almost unusable in all but a handful of operational situations.

This confirmation of the Herman claims illustrates the result of Cold War intelligence scare-mongering, but another question can be raised in regard to the raison d'etre of the Eurofighter: why is it necessary to put such resources into such a plane after the end of the Cold War which was supposed to justify its development? The answer resides in the new role for NATO that is still being shaped.

One line of thinking on that role was voiced on Oct. 23 by Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Portillo in a speech in Brussels to the Belgian Royal Institute for International Affairs. Portillo, a right-wing Tory who is in the running to replace John Major as Tory Party leader, favors loose ties with the European Union and close ties with the U.S., especially on defense matters, and his speech was aimed at NATO councils which are located in Brussels.

Portillo called for increased military spending by NATO members, deploring the fact that defense spending in real terms in Europe over the past decade had declined by almost one third. The key point of his speech was a quoting (once again) of intelligence reports that portrayed the world as becoming a more dangerous place.

Those reports claimed 53 potential crisis points around the world, citing northern Africa and the Middle east in particular and indicating that one of the reasons for possible crisis was the threat to western access to natural resources. An alarmist threat was raised over a claim that 17 of the world's "security flashpoints" were within 200 miles of NATO's borders. Added Portillo, "Russian capability in strategic nuclear missile submarines has not diminished."

So we must have more military spending. The intelligence agencies say so, in concert with the arms manufacturers and the right-wing politicians.

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